Monday, July 4, 2011


Colloseum/Flavian Amphitheatre - Rome. Venue of Sporting Spectacle, Death and Entertainment!

My eldest daughter flew back to London today, as my youngest daughter learned that her application for a visa to live and work in Canada for two years, had been accepted.I drove back from the airport with the sadness that saying 'goodbye' brings, yet by the same token, infected by the excitement of their expectancy. In an effort to swallow the sadness,  I endeavoured to make my head think about the 8ft by 4ft mosaic tiling project I have been planning for the last 12 months. It is to take centre stage in the floor of the 'Colloseum' (a nickname for the summerhouse, that turned out to be much larger than originally thought. Given there have been many wonderful evenings of food, laughter and music with friends and family, perhaps being christened, 'The Colloseum' wasn't so far off the mark, after all!)

When I hit home, I went out to check the 8 x 4 space left in the middle of the green timber floor, and the tiles and mirrors that I had salvaged last summer from a dump behind Tudor Tiles in Dundrum. I played around with different designs, whilst referring to a picture of an original Turkish tile. As I smashed various coloured tiles into smithereens to place inbetween small blue tiles, I realized this project was not going to be finished for that week-end, or the next batch of Dublin visitors. It will probably take me most of the Summer... if I'm lucky. Somewhat disappointed, but nevertheless resigned, the 8 x 4 piece of medite was nailed back down to avoid accidents, and I had a cup of coffee, smoked a cigarette, swallowed my pride, and sky-watched instead.

Swallowing, inhaling and eyes following the horses, heads down, eating, from behind opened shutters, I became aware that I wasn't on my own. There was a heated debate or fight going on in this 'Colloseum' and I was the only human to be seen. My first thoughts were of the rodent variety and that disturbed me. (Mice, I can live with, but rats freak me out!) Anyway, I had no need for concern, as a pair of house martins, argued their way out of hiding; swooping and swirling over head; reminding me of an everyday Greek-style communication. What excitement I felt as they flew in and out of the joists and eaves. They were back ... summer was here! Just then, I thought about the thousands of swallows gathering on overhead electricity and telephone wires in the evening streets of Kalives in Crete and Tropea in Italy to discuss the day's happenings, and quite possibly an order of business for the following day. Such a joy to me! And now, slowing the speed down quite considerably from the frenetic flourish of swallows/house martins' wings ... to SNAILS! 

A snail, even if it is a creation of God; (and using a favourite word of deceased and disgraced Irish premier Charles Haughey) is 'CATEGORICALLY'  not a joy to me, I'm rather ashamed to say! Recently, whilst maintaining the garden of a house that we are trying not to give up hope of ever selling, I witnessed a mass invasion or a mass exodus of the beasts. Whichever, they were all on the move to somewhere; some place. Their freakish style of globetrotting reminded me of Gary Oldman's depiction of Dracula's mode of cinematic movement.  I decided to pick one up gently by its shell after watching it spit and slither over a rock. It looked just like the one in the photo above, and turning it around to look at its face, searching for eyes and mouth, I could see neither. Some time later, a friend told me, their eyes were perhaps part of the antennae. I should google it to find out where their ears, nose, eyes and mouth are, but quite frankly after another friend, Stef, emailed me with the link below, I realize that the whereabouts and specifics of a snail's body parts WILL FOREVER remain a mystery to me!

It is quite positively one of the most horrific things I have ever seen, and couldn't possibly BEAR to look at it more than once! Who needs films like Alien? To think 'L'ESCARGOT' are devoured with relish throughout France ! That thought ... makes a person, who can swallow a dessert spoonful of cod liver oil (albeit, washed down with a swig of milk), SHIVER!!!

Ciao for now!

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